Inspired by Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, this essay raises the question whether lesbians and gay men should fundamentally rethink their relationship with the law. Until now, lesbians and gay men have played by the rules: We bide our time for the appropriate moment to challenge the application of the law, and then do so from within the legal system through impact litigation. Focusing on Agamben’s discussion of Kafka’s parable Before the Law, this essay challenges us to consider whether, instead of engaging the law on its own terms, lesbians and gay men should use the law as a tool against itself in an effort to open the way for a meaningful and thorough reconsideration of the appropriate relationship between sexual orientation and legal and social norms.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law and Society | Sexuality and the Law | Tax Law

Date of this Version

March 2006